It's official: South Africa to get its first official nude beach

  • AFP, Johannesburg
  • Updated: Apr 05, 2015 08:18 IST

South Africa has been home to unofficial nude beaches for decades. But this is the first time the country will get its official nude beach -- a 500-metre (yard) stretch of Mpenjati Beach, which lies on the Indian Ocean.

The naturist beach opens despite objections from some locals. It received local government approval in 2014 to become an official nudist venue.

Cape Town's famous Sandy Bay is one of the many unofficial nude beaches in South Africa that has been around for decades.

Mpenjati Beach itself, located about 140 kilometres (90 miles) south of Africa's busiest port of Durban, has been a popular strip-off spot for about 20 years.

"There has been no concern from the residents for decades until now," said Serge Pavlovic, chairman of the South African National Naturist Association (SANNA).

"Things over the years have progressed that now having naturist beaches is common practice. The logical consequence was to make it official so we would no longer need to fear arrest," he told AFP.

Nudists risked arrest for indecent exposure on South Africa's beaches in the years of apartheid rule. Technically, public nudity is still banned.

The Hibiscus Coast local municipality approved SANNA's application in October and the beach was set to open officially Friday.

Last-minute objections by a local group secured a compromise from officials, who have designated the opening as a 'trial run'.

The residents' group said in its appeal that naked sun-lovers would have a 'negative effect on a society that is striving for wholesome lifestyles'.

It also said visitor facilities cannot be built as the beach is a marine protected area.

But local authorities deferred a decision on the appeal, allowing the opening to go ahead.

Pavlovic said planned weekend activities would include volleyball and sack races.

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